How Can You Do Healthy Polyamory?

Mar 14, 2020

How can I do non-monogamy but not be a jerk about it?

Hi, everyone! I’m Dr. Liz and I’m here to you today to talk about great ways to get into healthy patterns in non-monogamy. So non-monogamy encompasses any form of relationship in which there is not exclusivity related to something like sex or dating.

For me, I am polyamorous. That means that I have multiple loving relationships with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

In polyamory, I think a lot of people wonder like, “How do I do this thing?” Because most of the things that we learned about how to date and be in relationships, we learn from a very mononormative model, a model that says that exclusivity is what makes someone special, that if you care about someone you only want them, that what makes someone worth dating is if you don’t want to date anyone else.

So like how do you then figure out how to do dating and sex stuff when most of the messages you learned about it aren’t designed for when you are dating multiple people? The easiest answer is, unpack your assumptions about what sex and dating mean.

In my book, I talk a lot about unlearning the monogamy mindset, this mindset that says that being the only is the only way to be special or that being the only is the most important thing or being the best is the best part.

What if instead we can find ways to be happy and feel special and feel seen and cared for without that kind of exclusivity being necessary?

What if we can unpack what love looks like to us?

What are the ways that someone can show us love that don’t rely on them not showing it to someone else?

What are the ways that we can show love to other people that they will be able to hear and receive that don’t have to do with not dating anybody else?

Another element important in doing non-monogamy and not being a jerk is, understanding how power works within your relationship. Who holds the power in different ways and at different times?

For me, I’m white. That means that if I’m dating a person who is not white, there is a lot of societal power that I yield that they don’t have access to. And I have to be aware of how that impacts our relationship.

In addition, I am non-binary. So if I’m dating someone who is cisgender, they have to be aware of how their gender and their being cisgender might give them power societally that I don’t have access to.

When we are in relationships, there is never going to be relationship where power is completely equal. So what’s important instead is to just be aware of how are we balancing the power, being aware of what power dynamics are present, and making sure that we neutralize them or handle them with as much care as possible.

Another thing important to doing non-monogamy and not being a jerk is having the boundaries, being able to communicate what your boundaries are, being able to hold them, being able to respect someone else’s boundaries. Related to that is good communication and ways of handling things like jealousy.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it kind of can be. This is why I wrote my book, to give people resources that are practical and usable when navigating these situations.

I’m also now about to offer a really fantastic web series with my friend, Kevin Patterson, the award-wining author of Love’s Not Color Blind and co-author of the For Hire series, which is a series of books about queer polyamorous super heroes of color.

We wanted to give folks a way who are getting into non-monogamy or newer to it a way to make sure that they are setting things up in a way that is as healthy as possible. And so, Kevin and I have decided to start offering this class, Unpack Your Polyamory.

I’ll put a link to it down below. But this class is a 6-week live webinar and you can buy any single class in this series or the entire 6-week series. And we wanted to create a really great toolkit for people to have so that as we do non-monogamy, they are able to do it in a way that is as ethical as possible and that treats everyone as well as possible. That’s what’s going to make you feel better about the way you are doing non-monogamy.

If you want to know more about it, please check out the link below or you can ask me questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I’ll also be tagging Kevin in any of my social media shares of this so that you can ask him questions too about his perspective and like what he wants to make sure everybody gets out of the class.

Most of all, I’m hoping that I will see some of you in this class. The class starts April 1, 2020 and will be every Wednesday for an hour and a half for six weeks. After the class is over, we will have recordings available for sale as well. So if you can’t make stuff live, just let us know and we can figure something out.

But I’m hoping that this will be a really useful tool for everybody moving forward. So I’m looking forward to seeing you live soon in Unpack Your Polyamory.



Unf*ck your polyamory webinar with me and Kevin Patterson of Poly Role Models is coming April 1st! Be sure to sign up at and reserve your spot today!

Order your copy of Building Open Relationships.

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